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Photos of Kurt Cobain’s death scene will not be made public

SEATTLE — The Washington State Court of Appeals has ruled that photographs from the scene of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s death will not be released publicly.

The court ruled Tuesday that the photographs are exempt from Washington state’s Public Records Act and releasing the photos would “violate the Cobain family’s due process rights under the 14th Amendment.”

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes released the following statement to Q13 News on Tuesday:

“As both a father and an advocate for victims’ rights, I’m relieved the Court upheld that death-scene images are not appropriate for disclosure. After a family member endures the tragedy of losing a loved one, we have a moral obligation to protect their privacy. No one should worry whether they’ll happen upon photos of a family member’s body as they scroll through their social media feed.

“As a member of Washington State’s Sunshine Committee, I regularly advocate to open more records for public access, but out of respect to family members, I continue to believe releasing images of a person’s scene of death is out-of-bounds. I’m pleased with the Court’s thorough analysis of the issue, and I’m thankful to the attorneys in my office who defended the City, and, resultingly, the Cobain family members’ right to privacy.”

Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, and his daughter who was a toddler at the time of his death, Frances Bean Cobain, filed testimonies to keep the photos from being made public.

The ruling comes after Seattle journalist Richard Lee appealed the case’s dismissal. Lee has pursued the release of 55 photos in an attempt to prove Cobain did not die from suicide in 1994, but rather was killed.